High Performance Car Comparison
What do you get when you put a Chevrolet Corvette Z06, a Dodge Viper SRT-10, and a Ford Shelby GT500 all on the same race track? A heart pounding 1500 horsepower thrill ride filled with raucous sights and sounds of speed. And you get out of the way!!
The Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is the latest ultimate edition of America’s premiere sports car, Dodge’s Viper SRT-10 has been called the modern-day Cobra, while the Ford Shelby GT500 recalls the glory days of Mustang muscle. All represent the epitome of street performance for their respective makers - and generates debate and daydreams in equal measure among their faithful followers.
The Z06 weighs in at 3,132 pounds and packs a whopping 505 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque thanks to its 7-liter normally-aspirated V8.
With numbers like that, it’s no surprise that this atomic orange cruise missile is fast out of the starting gate even on a bone chilling morning, hitting its stride to 60 in just 4 seconds. Eight seconds later, it crosses the quarter-mile stripe showing 121 miles-per- hour on the speedo.
Just a few tick behind the Z06, the Dodge Viper’s massive 345/30 ZR-rated 19-inch rear tires provide just enough grip to launch a 0-60 run in 4.3 seconds. It blows through the quarter-mile in 12.4 seconds at 120 miles-per-hour.
The Viper tips the scales at 3,450 pounds and draws its power from a monstrous 8.3 liter aluminum V-1O. It produces no less than 510 horsepower and a meaty 535 pound-feet of tire-smoking torque.
The GT500 is a newcomer to this bunch, but comes with full street racer credentials: its 5.4 liter twin-cam supercharged V8 boasts an even 500 ponies and 480 pound-feet of torque. It’s handicapped in this group by a rather hefty 3,950 pound curb weight, but it is the only one equipped with a back seat.
With our driver securely belted to the front seat, the Shelby was only a hair behind the Vette and Viper, needing 4.5 seconds to reach 60 and galloped through the quarter-mile trap in 12.7 seconds at a terminal velocity of 113.
But, you don’t get invited to a test track like Savannah’s 2-mile Roebling Road Raceway if you can’t deliver the goods when the tarmac turns too and these three all do. What makes them different is how composed they are and how well they held up over two days of hot laps.
The Corvette Z06 is finely balanced, athletic and graceful. It responds to subtle inputs of gas, brake and steering and moves fluidly from corner to corner, with an active handling system to keep the driver in control. It is also deceptively fast: this car makes good drivers into heroes, and fresh asphalt into God’s own playground.
The Viper, on the other hand, is about as subtle as a sledgehammer - it takes a double helping of adrenaline to drive this car at the limit. Cornering, braking and acceleration are accomplished by brute force and if you can’t hang on tight enough, you’ll get no apologies and no electronic helping hand from this car.
The Shelby GT500 is a solid performer by every measure with traction control switched off, it was easily the most throttle-happy of the bunch and very entertaining to drive, but with a street smooth suspension, it can’t quite run with this crowd in terms of all-out performance.
But what about the price of admission for these thrill rides? Here the Shelby seems to take the checkered flag by a mile with a base price of $41,675. Modestly optioned, yet fully equipped, our tester rang up for $43,765.
The Dodge Viper SRT-10 coupe has the highest MSRP of the group at $83,995 and our car rolled out the door for a hefty $90,890.
Less of a premium is being demanded of the Corvette Z06. Its sticker starts at an even $70,000, and full-up, sells for $78,175.
So which car would we pick? It depends: for an everyday car with attitude to spare for the weekends, we’d go with the Shelby.
For all-out attitude in a car we’d only drive on weekends, the Viper gets an enthusiastic nod.
But for all around performance, polish and pizzazz, the Z06 just can’t be beat. It delivers much of the sophisticated performance of a hand-made exotic at less than half the price.
And there you have it, 500 horsepower times three and three ways to reach your driving nirvana!
- Engine: 5.4 Liter Twin-cam Supercharged V8
- Horsepower: 500
- Torque: 480 Lb Feet
- 0-60 MPH: 4.5 Seconds
- 1/4 Mile: 12.7 Seconds @ 113 MPH
- Price: $41,675
- Chevrolet Corvette Z06:
- Dodge Viper SRT-10:
- Ford Mustang Shelby GT500: